Journalism won’t die if you donate. Support Voice of San Diego today!

There’s a mindset that drives the work we try to do every day: We expect a lot from our community’s leaders and its institutions. That’s because our community expects a lot from them.

We are, to our very foundation, of and by this community. We exist off of your donations. Our present and future is inexorably linked to your faith in us, and your support for us.

So what does that mean?

We don’t come to our work with any political agenda, affiliation or dogma. However, we freely admit that we’re not objective. We don’t believe objectivity is possible. Each person brings their own life experiences, personal biases and worldview to everything they do. Just deciding what stories to do each day is itself a subjective one. Two honest reporters can leave the same meeting and come away with two different stories. We make these decisions based on our values and judgments.

We’re not robots; we’re members of this community who care passionately about its future. We do nobody’s bidding but our own.

We come at our work with the belief that things can be better in our government, schools, neighborhoods, institutions and natural environment.

A good way to get an eye-roll from a journalist is to ask her, “What’s your spin, what’s your angle, what’s your agenda?”

In reality, it’s a smart question. Just one we journalists aren’t normally very good at answering. So we offer up something defensive or feebly mutter, “The truth.”

We’ve been trying to figure out a better way to answer that question. We’re not all the way there yet, but let me take a crack at it. It’s not an agenda so much as it is the mindset our journalists strive for even if we don’t always achieve it:

  • We have a clear mission to consistently provide groundbreaking investigative reporting. If we’re not doing that, then we’re breaking our promise with the community.
  • Our leaders’ decisions have real, powerful impacts on our community’s residents. If we let our leaders off the hook, then we know we’re letting you down.
  • We don’t care if it’s uncomfortable, makes someone not like us or means we get hassled.
  • If someone’s not upset with us, then we’re probably not doing our job.
  • Don’t be afraid to stand alone or take a stand. If we won’t, who will?
  • Get indignant. The world and this city are full of injustices. What are we going to do about it?
  • Be aggressive, relentless, focused, suspicious and demanding.
  • Also search for solutions and positive examples we can learn from.

If you believe in this mission, and you want to see it succeed in this community over the long-term, please become a member or renew your membership. We have a growing list of benefits that are only available to members, such as monthly coffees, our members survey and even more to come.

My favorite line to hear when I meet someone professionally goes something like this: “I really like what you guys are doing, even though I don’t always agree with you.”

That’s great. Our goal can’t be to get everyone to agree with us. Because sometimes we’re going to take an angle you don’t agree with. Sometimes we’re going to reveal something unfavorable about a politician you support.

Our goal is for you to respect us. To know that we’re writing a story not because we have an axe to grind or a position to push, but because we believe it’s in the public’s interest to have that information.

Join us on this mission. And keep having those high expectations for us, too.

I’m the editor of VOSD. You can reach me at or 619.325.0526. Follow me on Twitter: @AndrewDonohue.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.